On Monday, 17 September, the International Criminal Court (ICC) delivers its verdict against Congolese opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba. A few hours before this announcement, the pressure rises in all camps especially in his country. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has already threatened to withdraw from this Court.
It is through an official statement this Saturday that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has made public the position of the Congolese government.
“… the DRC, which in its time had contributed significantly to the elaboration of the Rome Statute establishing the ICC and, subsequently, the implementation of the latter, does not exclude, in desperation, to withdraw.
Kinshasa says some governments “would put pressure” on ICC judges in relation to the situation in the DRC. Pressures which according to the communiqué of the Congolese authorities would be “likely to have an impact on the electoral process, in progress, in this country”. Words that hide poorly the fear of an acquittal of Jean-Pierre Bemba, Monday.
Even removed from the presidential race by the Electoral Commission, Jean-Pierre Bemba continues to worry the power of Kinshasa. Former warlord before becoming vice-president of the DRC, had been sentenced for bribing witnesses before the ICC. He was acquitted last June of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by his militia in the Central African Republic (2002-2003). If this Monday, he is acquitted in the case of witness tampering, Bemba will automatically be reinstated in the presidential race. A possibility much feared by the power in view of its very great popularity in the country.
The final list of candidatures for the next elections of December 23 is expected, indeed, Wednesday, September 19, according to the electoral calendar.
Created in 2002, the ICC has the ultimate punishment for crimes against humanity.